Suffolk: Police officers and staff receive £300,000 in compensation

Compensation claims

Compensation claims

SUFFOLK Constabulary has paid out more than £300,000 in costs linked to compensation claims from police officers and staff, it can be revealed.

One case involved a £13,625 payout after an officer hurt a right big toe during safety training, while another received a pay out of £7,400, including legal costs, after slipping on a spillage in a custody suite.

The details, which span five years, come a month after a Thetford policewoman came under fire for launching a £50,000 compensation claim against a burglary victim after she fell over a kerb during a call out.

The police last night said any compensation claim was treated “extremely seriously” while the Suffolk Police Federation – an organisation that represents rank and file officers – said it is right that the force’s employees are protected.

According to the figures, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act, 23 compensation claims have been made by officers and staff between 2007 and 2013.

The biggest successful claim – for £130,845 – came in August 2010 when a worker fell in a store room and fractured a hip.

At least seven claims have been lodged by police officers after getting hurt in training. The claim total also includes legal costs.

Most Read

One officer received £13,950 in July 2007 after being wounded in the leg during firearms training. In November 2008 an officer was awarded £24,307 for a non-specified injury while on a training course. And then in November 2009 another officer was paid £17,952 for an injury on his left wrist received during safety training.

Two claims, where one person tripped over a pallet and another where a falling ceiling panel caused injury, are still outstanding.

Matt Gould, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, said claims will arise in any line of work where there is a degree of risk.

He added: “Officer safety training has proved quite problematic in the past, in that we have had several officers injured practicing defensive tactics etc. But we are not over sensitive about it, as all the claims that we are aware of are all dealt with via the county solicitor - if they didn’t feel there was merit to them then you can rest assured they would be vigorously defended.”

Mr Gould rejected the suggestion that officers were now more litigious.

He added: “We are aware of some of the high profile cases where officers have claimed for flea bites etc. I’ve looked at the response you are looking at now and I don’t think there is anything to be concerned about.

“I think one of the things that gets forgotten is that if police officers become injured to the extent where they can’t perform all of the functions of the police officer they face compulsory termination of employment or medical retirement.

“Just like any other employee, there needs to be some protection for them.”

A Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman said: “Any request for compensation, made by a member of the public or by a member of police staff, is taken extremely seriously and each case is considered in relation to its own circumstances.

“The very nature of policing can mean that incidents attended by officers can involve pursuit or confrontation, which can potentially result in damage or accidents. Every effort is made to reduce these instances but they can be inevitable in the course of ensuring that communities are kept safe and those suspected of criminal activity are detained.”

She added: “The Constabulary considers any lessons learned from accidents where appropriate, and where necessary, improvements are put in place to maintain and enhance good health and safety practices.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter